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African Safari - 101

Posted By: PelicanPirate

African Safari - 101 - 09/22/2013 09:28 PM

Staring to plan a safari in the coming years. Where do those you've been suggest a newbie begin? How long a trip, what countries? Recommended companies?

At worst, I envision this being a once in a life time trip, so cramming it all in comes to mind. At best, it might be a twice in a lifetime trip.

I don't think I would want to hunt with a gun, but maybe a high res camera. We don't need luxury, but we do need comfortable and safe lodging, transport......and low risk food and drink.

Thanks for any input on this exciting topic.
Posted By: Eric_Hill

Re: African Safari - 101 - 09/23/2013 01:36 PM

Lots of choices.

Several countries, but realistically you will not have time to see them, as the distance and travel would be the issue. For all pratical purposes you will fly into Johannesburg and then fly from there, unless S. Africa would be your primary destination.

Botswana is stable and safe. It also has some of the best safari camps in Africa outside of probably S. Africa.

For Botswana and many other "camps" they are all inclusive because they are out in the middle of no where, so not like there is any other choice. They also provide the transportation between camps.

The camps will very between semi rustic to some of the best accommodations in the world. And the prices are the same.

How long?? Depends on your budget and time that you have available. Regardless you will want to do probably at least 3-4 different camps, as the viewing is different at each location.

You will need to go thru a safari specialist, don't even think about trying to book at of this on your own!

And no you have not started your planning too early! You are going to have tons of options to choose from, so now is a good time to get started. Time of year also makes a difference on the type of viewing that you will have. Each season is different for a variety of reasons, but you will still see massive amounts and you will take thousands of photos, so also plan accordingly.

Start asking away! <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Grin.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: seeitall

Re: African Safari - 101 - 09/24/2013 08:38 PM

To begin with, I would refer you to Carol's trip report here . It's rather long and a few years old but full of useful information.

It was so useful, in fact, that I used it as a guide to planning our trip last May. Not that you have to do the same but it's a great start.

I have yet to compile a report of our trip but photos are here and a YouTube version here.

PM if you have further questions.
Posted By: PelicanPirate

Re: African Safari - 101 - 09/25/2013 03:47 AM

Eric & Seeitall;

Thanks for the first tips. I think you've gone beyond 101 towards the 400 level classes. I looked at both your pics and began reading "The Book of Safari" by Carol & Eric. I truly appreciate the book. I'll read the second half tomorrow. Until now, I was thinking Tanzania and the North. But now I think you both are wise to have done Botswana. I truly appreciate the time folks have taken to show others the way. TTOL is one of the greatest sites. I'm a licensed pilot and both look forward to that piece but also wonder what you thought of the condition and safety of the planes and pilots.
<img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/dine.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: Eric_Hill

Re: African Safari - 101 - 09/25/2013 01:53 PM

Regarding the planes and pilots.

Not a pilot but the planes were clean and from what I understood at the time, the pilots had to have special traing to fly for the camps. Also consider that the camps (safari providers) are transporting many guest daily, so I would think that proper maintenance and good pilots would be expected and demanded by those companies.

When flying between the camps it is generally with two to six people. Multiple stops with pickup and drop off of people. And we know for a fact that they do not like loosing people in transit - for more information see out trip report! <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Grin.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: Carol_Hill

Re: African Safari - 101 - 09/25/2013 02:11 PM

seeitall--Especially the Youtube version of your pictures is really stunning, with the music. I SO enjoyed watching it. I do hope we are able to return to Africa one day. It is a fabulous experience..
Posted By: PelicanPirate

Re: African Safari - 101 - 09/25/2013 11:31 PM

I'm looking at things so far and the cost is going to be a big factor as we will be a group of 8 with one billpayer, me.

So I'm gonna have to consider shorter,simpler intineraries that will give them a feel for having been to Africa and see as many animals as possible from fewer sights, maybe one sight. I wish I could do as you both did, but that would put me north of $40k minimum. Did you guys look into South Africa & Kruger National Park and the lodges around there? Also, I see Zimbabwe packages are cheaper. Recognizing political stability/safety, what did you guys read/hear about Zimbabwe.
Posted By: Carol_Hill

Re: African Safari - 101 - 09/26/2013 01:49 AM

Wow, sorry, we were only two people and the price for 8 people would be out of sight. Can't really help you on that, other than to say that, as far as I know, Santa Claus is not real.....
Posted By: PelicanPirate

Re: African Safari - 101 - 09/26/2013 02:55 AM

<img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/jester.gif" alt="" /> They know who Santa is! I'm seeing some 5 day trips from JBURG for well under 1000 US per person spent in Kruger Park. One site I've perused a while here is Themba Day Tours. If anybody has any opinions on what they are offering I'd appreciate it. Santa
Posted By: Eric_Hill

Re: African Safari - 101 - 09/26/2013 01:33 PM

With 8 people that does change the situation. There are a variety of day and multiple day trips from Jburg that would work. Kruger is an obvious choice in that situation. But there are also a lot of other parks in S. Africa that would be viable also for other day or overnight trips.
Posted By: Carol_Hill

Re: African Safari - 101 - 09/26/2013 01:42 PM

That's a whole different situation than the kind of trip we did. You can self-drive through Kruger Park. Waay too many people versus animals for me, a much different situation than being in Botswana.
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